How well is Tennessee maintaining social distance? GPS data shows not well

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Since the early days of the pandemic, Unacast’s Social Distancing Scoreboard has given us insight into how well we are social distancing through the use of cellphone GPS data.

The Scoreboard assigns grades for states, counties, and cities across the country, indicating how well that particular region maintains the recommended six feet of distance. So how well is Tennessee doing right now? Currently, the grade for Tennessee is an ‘F.’

Since March, Unacast has used its data tracking models to analyze people’s movements during the pandemic. The scoreboard is a free resource.

Unacast Co-Founder and CEO Thomas Walle tells News 2, “We launched the social distancing scorecard back in March, it was very much to kind of build a pro-bono tool to help educate the Americans about how they’re doing in regards to social distancing, as it was recommended by the CDC and the World Health Organization.’

This data is also used by businesses.

“What we see that a lot of companies contact Unacast to help them understand and help them navigate through the pandemic. This is such a different time for all of us. Access to information is very, very challenging. It’s very challenging to navigate, to make sure you can make the right decisions,” said Walle.

But what information can Middle Tennesseans learn from this scoreboard? The answer? A lot. A clear pattern of increasing mobility has emerged since the early days of the pandemic.

“And we did see that back then when the shelter in place and the shutdowns took place, and people did change their mobility patterns. They traveled less and visited fewer stores. However, over the summer, and this is across the whole of the US, we saw that the patterns almost went back to normal levels.”

Since Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases have been skyrocketing. But the data does show a glimmer of hope. Since the Thanksgiving holiday, there have been signs that mobility and non-essential visits have decreased.

This data can be viewed on the Unacast website.

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